Sunday, June 12, 2005

The USA as a religious state

I rarely make political statements. I've learned that it is impolite to discuss politics or religion in public. An individual's views are their own... and sharing will not change another's viewpoint, only add discomfort to a relationship.

Given that, I apologize for providing you with the following quotes to consider. But these are voices heard in the past that need to be remembered in the present:

"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise." James Madison, fourth president of the United States.

John Adam's pushed for the ratification of THE TREATY OF PEACE AND FRIENDSHIP. This Treaty (as far as I can tell) has not been recinded by the US Government. And one of the articles of this treaty specifically states:

"the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion."

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Thomas Jefferson, the author of our Constitution, wrote that he believed Jesus was the epitome of what it means to be a great human. He, however, also wrote items which support the fact that his personal beliefs were not Christian in nature. And that he did NOT want anything that appeared to be a Christian government. His argument for leaving all public religious beliefs aside in governmental matters:

"But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. Had not the Roman government permitted free enquiry, Christianity could never have been introduced. Had not free emquiry been indulbed, at the aera of the reformation, the corruptions of Christianity could not have been purged away. If it be restrained now, the present corruptions will be protected, and the new ones encouraged. Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls now are." Thomas Jefferson in "Notes on the State of Virginia"

And finally, a comment on public declarations of religious righteousness from a contemporary individual, Ronald Reagan's son, Ron:

"Dad was also a deeply, unabashedly religious man. but he never made the fatal mistake of so many politicians - wearing his faith on his sleeve to gain political advantage. True, after he was shot and nearly killed early in his presidency, he came to believe that God had spared him in order that he might do good. But he accepted that as a responsibility, not a mandate. And there is a profound difference."

My country is a great country.... but it was never intended to be a religious state. For those of us who are not Christians (born again or simply born), I pray that we return to a time when one's PRIVATE beliefs form the structure of one's actions, not the actions themself.

Tomorrow, I return with fun and laughs... and a review of THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS.

4 comments:

Deb R said...

YES! You'd love the owner/editor of our little weekly local paper. The bulk of his editorials read very much like your post. I adore his writing, but he's not too popular here in our little bible belt town where one of the first questions a person is often asked is "Where do you go to church?". Not even "DO you go to church?", which would still be none of their business, but "WHERE do you...?", the obvious assumption being that any decent human being must attend somewhere, and never mind that some of us believe our spiritual life should be PRIVATE. Bleah.

Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants, as in the movie or the book? Either way I'm looking forward to the review. Both looked good to me.

Gerrie said...

BRAVO! It may not be polite to discuss politics or religion in public, but a bigger sin is indifference and keeping silent when the country is going back to the dark ages.

Logan said...

Coming in late on this, but I want to comment, too. I'm Canadian, so we have this massive apathy / too polite to voice any opinion thing we're supposed to adhere to, but I'm gonna break out of that for a minute. Okay, for my life - mouthy, that's me.

YOU ARE SO RIGHT! Yes, I know I was yelling. You should have heard me a-ha-ing and yep-ing my way through your post! I am saddened by the current US administration's religious pushiness, done in the guise of patriotism. I was shocked and dismayed when GWB got in for a second term, too! Removed as I am (Canadians don't live it, we just watch it on television), I saw the religious zelotry writting on the wall, and was a bit freaked out by it - but never thought it would get as severe as it has. There have got to be a whole bunch of pissed off non-Christians regretting their hasty votes, about now.

My opinion - it won't be popular, but it's mine, and I'm keeping it.

JulieZS said...

As a non-Christian, THANK YOU!
I'm getting so scared and worried about the Theocracy that so many seem to be aiming towards, where will it leave those of us who aren't on the same page of the same book???